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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving 2.0

Each year we reflect on what we have.  I am no different than most.  

I am always thankful for my health and the health of those close to me.  I'm thankful for my family and friends.  But this year, as I glance around the table I realize that my list is more specific now.  In all actuality, it feels like every day is Thanksgiving.   This year I am thankful for things I never knew I should be, for feeding tubes and ventilators, for paralytic drugs.  I am thankful for the people who are working right now, away from their own families, to help those in the state that you were in. 

I’m thankful for science.  I’m thankful that somewhere, at one point in time, someone figured out how to decompress the brain, saving the irreplaceable cells that enabled you to remember me…those that housed your sense of humor, your personality.

I am thankful for Ativan and Propofol, Heparin and Coumadin. 

I'm thankful for neuroplasticity.

I'm thankful for nurses who are truly living their calling.  The ones who spoke to you like you were still a person, inquired about your interests and your life.  The nurses who cried with us, the ones who fought for you and bagged you by hand for ninety minutes while you clung to life.

I'm thankful for nurses who sit with terrified sisters in step-down units, all through the night.  As you repeatedly woke up confused and looking towards the door, I'm thankful for the nurse who came running, gently massaging the scars on your head when I couldn't calm you down, lulling you back to sleep as a mother would do.

I'm thankful for nurses who have seen all that we have seen and worse, and still clock in the next day.

I’m thankful for husbands.  The kind who allow me to be distant and difficult, standing aside, quietly holding the pieces of my life together.  Husbands who love my family so much that they will completely remodel rooms in a matter of days, so as to better accommodate your needs.  I'm thankful for a husband who holds me up when he feels like collapsing.   I'm thankful for his shoulders, for his hand, and for my son.

I'm thankful for the person who called the police that night, that in the midst of tornadic winds and a power outage, someone saw a body and called for help. 

I'm thankful that I will never have to know how long you lay there in the rain...that I can forever tell myself it was five minutes. 

I'm thankful for lights at the end of very dark tunnels. 

I'm thankful for all of the times tragedy has been averted, and for the strength this incredible experience has afforded my family.  I'm grateful every time a breeze stops me mid-sentence, for the ability to recognize what is truly important.  I'm thankful for a heightened awareness.

But mostly, this year, I'm thankful for you. 
I’m grateful for the opportunity to see you smile, to be able to drive you to work and watch you walk away.  I’m thankful when you get angry with us for opening doors and holding your drinks.  I’m thankful for the times I have had to watch you struggle, for the proof that you are very much alive.  

I'm thankful for rainy, dreary days at rehabilitation centers, long movies and portable DVD players.  I'm thankful for air mattresses and overnight bags and dry shampoo.  I'm thankful for wheelchairs and physical therapists, for parking lot barbeques and extra pillows.

I’m thankful for every birthday you have yet to celebrate, for every holiday there will not be an empty chair.

I'm thankful that to my son, you will be much more than some distant memory, more than a picture on a shelf.
I’m thankful when my phone rings and it’s you.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Don’t you dare think that it’s ever lost on me.   

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